Ohope celebrates Carrington win
Sun, 12 Aug 2012 6:03p.m.
By Ashlee Tulloch
As you can imagine, last night was huge in Lisa Carrington's hometown of Ohope, on the beach just over the hill from Whakatane.
Her family, friends, ex-teachers, coaches and fans all gathered to watch their girl win gold.
They may have been more than 18,000km away from the action at Eton dorney, but Lisa Carrington’s grandparents still had a front-row seat in Ohope in the Bay of Plenty.
“I’m lost for words,” says grandmother Doreen Carrington. “Just so proud. She’s very special.”
Done in less than 45 seconds, her gold medal-winning paddle was over too soon for some.
“I want to see it again,” says grandmother Nancy Taylor. “It was too exciting. I need to see it again.”
It was at the Whakatane Surf Life Saving Club that a nine-year-old Carrington first showed that winning mentality.
“When I first started coaching her she was probably about nine or 10 in the surf club with all the other girls,” says surf school owner Bevan Porter. “She was the kind of girl you could instruct to do something and she would do it perfectly.”
It’s that approach that former Olympic rower Gary Reid believes gave the 23-year-old an edge in her maiden Olympic appearance
“Even all the greats of New Zealand sport, not many of them did it first time up, and Ian Fergesson went to three Olympic games before he cracked it,” says Reid. “The fact that she was able to not only have the talent to do it, but to be able to hold herself together mentally to do it was spectacular.”
But winning has meant sacrifice, like missing high school balls, as she toiled to become the best in the world.
“She’s an amazing human being,” says high school form teacher Tracey Grammer. “She has that confidence, the determination and also that natural flare about her.”
Last night’s celebrations were just the beginning for the Bay. A civic reception will be held when the local athletes return.
“We've had a number of local contestants, so we're just so thrilled,” says Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne. “It just brings all of Whakatane together.”
The family welcome too will be something special.
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